Mayor Deanna Reed poses with the Eastern Mennonite University field hockey team at the Royals Go Downtown event Sept. 22, 2022. Reed will join the university’s advancement team as a regional director in January 2023. (Photo by Jon Styer)

EMU announces Harrisonburg mayor Deanna Reed as regional advancement director

Eastern Mennonite University announces the appointment of Deanna Reed, mayor of the City of Harrisonburg and Board of Trustees member, as regional advancement director for university advancement. Reed will begin her position Jan. 23, 2023.

Among other priorities, Reed will build engagement in the Shenandoah Valley and in central and eastern Virginia for the Forward Together capital campaign as the university continues to expand access opportunities to students in the region.

“Deanna’s unique skills and connections within the community of Harrisonburg and beyond will contribute to building vibrant relationships to advance our mission and open new funding doors,” said Kirk Shisler, vice president for advancement. “Our Advancement team also sees tremendous potential with Deanna’s guidance to deepen connections with current students and to set in motion student ambassadors who will carry the EMU torch into their coming years as engaged alumni. We are thrilled that she views our university mission as aligning with her next professional step.” 

“I love EMU,” said Reed, a board member since 2019. “I believe EMU students and faculty are our bridgebuilders, our moral compass, and our peacebuilders of the valley. I have long considered myself a part of the EMU community. I look forward to what the future holds for this amazing university, and knowing that I will play a role in building that future is exhilarating. The people of EMU epitomize the welcoming and friendly values of our community and are amazing ambassadors to our region and state. I’m honored to be part of this family.”

Reed is a pioneering political leader and educator in Virginia. In 2016, she was the first African American woman elected to Harrisonburg City Council. She was appointed mayor in 2017. She is currently serving her second term.

The Harrisonburg native was named in 2018 among Essence magazine’s “Woke 100.”  She has been recognized by the Virginia Library of Congress as among the “Strong Men and Strong Women of Virginia History,” and honored with the 2015 Citizen of the Year Award by Harrisonburg-Rockingham County Commonwealth Attorney Marsha Garst.

Reed was EMU’s commencement speaker in 2020 and has been an active contributor to EMU’s campus life, participating in convocations and special events such as EMU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations.

Reed also played a critical role in the 2019 establishment of a liaison committee between EMU administrators and city officials that has provided a firm foundation of partnership through pandemic challenges to the present, Shisler said.